New River Gorge National Park and Preserve vs. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a beautiful and diverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in West Virginia, this expansive park spans more than 1,700 square miles and features rugged mountain scenery, winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, steep canyons, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. With so much to see and do, New River Gorge is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get outside and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in hiking or biking along scenic trails or rafting or kayaking down rushing rivers, New River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next trip today? Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New River Gorge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Get outside and discover what New River Gorge has to offer!

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Overview

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Hiking Trails

New River Gorge National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The park, which is located in southern West Virginia, features more than 50 miles of trails that wind through a variety of terrains. While all of the trails offer stunning views of the New River Gorge, each one has its own unique challenges.

For those looking for an easy hike, the Fayetteville Trail is a great option. This two-mile trail winds through a forest and offers gentle elevation changes. The trail can be accessed from the Fayetteville Visitors Center and is perfect for families or those who are new to hiking.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the New River Gorge Trail is the longest and most difficult trail in the park. This 31-mile trail follows the New River from one end of the gorge to the other. Along the way, hikers will need to navigate steep cliffs, narrow ledges, and deep ravines. The New River Gorge Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers who are properly prepared for a multi-day adventure.

Best Hikes At New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Hiking Overview at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a beautiful place to go hiking with many different trails to choose from. The easiest trail is the Towpath Trail which is level and paved making it great for those who are looking for an easy hike or for those with strollers or wheelchairs. The most difficult trail is the Ledges Trail which has a few steep areas and is mostly rocky. Whichever trail you choose, you are sure to have a great time exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park!

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Pine Grove Trail 27.7368 1 loop 4
Buckeye Trail and Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Loop 101.8032 3 loop 4
Oak Hill Trail 28.956 1 loop 4
Ledges Trail and Pine Grove Trail Loop 83.82 3 loop 4.5
Boston to Red Lock Loop via Buckeye Trail and Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath 235.9152 3 loop 4
Wetmore Outer Loop 243.84 3 loop 4.5
Tree Farm Trail 44.8056 1 loop 3.5
Riding Run Trail Loop 130.7592 3 loop 4.5
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath: Peninsula to Boston Mills 25.908 1 out and back 4.5
Perkins Trail and Riding Run Loop 164.8968 3 loop 4.5

Wildlife at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

At New River Gorge National Park, you can expect to see a wide range of beautiful wildlife. Whether you’re gazing at towering trees or trekking through muddy marshes, you are sure to encounter an array of animals and plants along the way. Some of the most common species include deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, wild turkeys, salamanders, snakes, lizards, hawks, eagles, crows and blue jays. Additionally, New River Gorge is home to many different types of flora including ferns, mosses, conifers and deciduous trees. Whether you’re exploring on your own or partaking in one of the park’s many guided tours and hikes, New River Gorge has something to offer for all nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike!

Wildlife at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and opossums. The park also has a large population of songbirds, such as robins, cardinals, and blue jays. In addition, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to numerous amphibians and reptiles, including frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, and snakes. Visitors to the park should be aware that Cuyahoga Valley National Park is also home to black bears. While bear sightings are rare, it is important to know what to do if you encounter one. For more information on Cuyahoga Valley National Park wildlife, please visit the park’s website or speak with a ranger during your visit.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Weather Considerations

New River Gorge National Park is a great place to visit any time of year, but the best time to go depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in hiking, the spring and fall are ideal because the temperatures are moderate and there’s less chance of rain. However, if you’re looking to whitewater raft, the summer is the best time to visit since that’s when the water level is at its highest. On the other hand, winter can be a magical time at New River Gorge National Park, especially if you’re hoping to see some snow. So whether you’re looking for adventure or peace and quiet, be sure to check the New River Gorge National Park weather forecast before planning your trip.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Weather Considerations

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in Ohio and experiences a variety of weather conditions throughout the year. The best time to visit the park is during the spring or fall when the temperatures are mild and there is less chance of rain. The worst time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is during the summer when the temperatures can be hot and humid, and there is a greater chance of thunderstorms. However, no matter what time of year you visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, be sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions and pack plenty of water.